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Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Chee-Wooi Ten


Cyber-contingency is a new concept introduced in this thesis to explore combinatorial challenges. The exhaustive enumeration of combinations is the hypothesized attack scenarios corresponding to multiple component outages associated under each substation. In the past, single component outage (also referred to N-1 contingency) has been widely implemented to ensure system falls within its operating limits caused by a component outage, such as a line/transformer/generator is isolated from a power system. This was designed to oversee and predict if the system may be potentially unstable when severe weather conditions or equipment failure situations that electrically disconnect component(s). As time goes by, the evolution of system protection has been gradually replaced by the microprocessor-based relays with Internet protocol (IP)-based communication capability. Often, the cyber-physical relation is tightly coupled between the intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) and the physical facilities in substations. This incurs a high risk of potential electronic intrusions to substations. Depending on the number of components connected in a substation, such as lines, generators, or loads, the conventional way of looking the system security problem is no longer robust. This thesis proposes a systematic approach to eliminate the combinations of hypothesized substation/component outages based on topological information and system loading conditions. The reverse pyramid model (RPM) is introduced to eliminate combinations of insignificant components outages. The proposed algorithms include assessment of substation vulnerabilities and cyber risk evaluation, which can be implemented in the control room to assist operator identifying critical substation combinations under specific time frame. Depth first search (DFS), breadth first search (BFS), and random selection methods are applied to evaluate the proposed model and validated using IEEE-118 and -30 bus systems in this study.